Abstract

“Dickinson’s Lyric Materialism” responds to Virginia Jackson’s compelling suggestion that reading practices, rather than compositional intentions, are responsible for the production of what we have come to think of as quintessentially “lyric” poetry. Reading lists and passages from nineteenth-century gardening manuals as potentially lyric, and poems by Dickinson as compressed directives for the identification or contemplation of nature, I argue that the particular lyricism of Dickinson’s work can be located neither purely in the expectations of a reader, nor in formulations of lyric as a hermetic literary form. Rather, Dickinson’s lyric materialism lies in her work’s resistance to predetermined notions of the natural world as legible.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1096-858X
Print ISSN
1059-6879
Pages
pp. 57-78
Launched on MUSE
2012-05-06
Open Access
No
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